Rants and raves about all the latest in video games and other forms of mindless entertainment.

July 29, 2005

Review: Killer 7 (GC) - Still sopping up the drool...

Disclaimer: This review is purposefully short. While theres a lot to the game, most of the discussion lies in the plot. Tommorow night, I will delve deep into my interpretation of the Killer 7 story and give my thoughts on the end result. Coming into this game, I was extremely skeptical. The game was selling poorly in Japan, and the general consensus of the game was that it was subpar. After further investigation and some misinterpreted babelfish, it seemed like those who played Killer 7 either loved it like a child, or wished so much misery upon Capcom that you'd think they had raped their dogs, then their children, and then skinned them, collected their blood and drank it as a Gatorade substitute. There was, and still is a definite split between critics on Killer 7. Fortunately, I'm on the supporting side. I absolutely loved Killer 7. It's a work of art, and features some of it's own nuances and innovations. The game puts you in the role of the Killer 7, a syndicate of Smiths who are hired assassins. You have 7 targets, and you engage in a tug of war between good and evil. Your main enemies are the Heaven Smile, who just so happen to be a large group of terrorists.

Each target is assigned their own mission, and some missions are broken into two parts due to length. As the Killer 7, you can switch between 6 members of the Killer 7. Each member has their own pros and cons. Among these are type of weapon, reload time, fire rate, weapon kick back, speed and special abilities. While the former attributes are present in all of the assassins, each character has their own unique special abilitiy. Kevin Smith can turn invisible, and thus invincible, Con runs at super sonic speeds, MASK lifts large objects, and so on. These abilities are fully upgradable and are integral to the puzzle solving, which there is quite a lot of. While there is a lot of it, the puzzles don't generally reach further than the ol' fetch item, use item as key to open new door, to get to new area. Some do get slightly more complex, but not at as rule. The gameplay however is polarized linear; literally. You use the A button to run along a preset path and use the analog stick to turn at junctions. Really unconventional, but very innovative for the third person action/first person shooter genre. You can enter the first person and scan the area for enemies, which don't appear unless you scan using the Vision ring. It's odd, but it works suprisingly well. Sometimes enemies can gang up you due to awkward camera angles, which results in cheap deaths but these instances are few and far between.

Some enemies pull of cheap shots by poor design, but again they aren't common and don't result in a fully "broken" experience. The game is almost linear to a fault, but it straddles that line so smoothly and manages to do it well enough that it creates unique gaming experience without flip flopping between good and bad. Graphically the game is a treat. Cel-shaded characters and pastel matted textures on the surroundings provide a surreal environment that just oozes genuine character. It puts you in an alternate reality. You can absorb the blood of your enemies, as their bodies vaporze into a red mist; that doesn't even resemble reality as we know it. It's a completely original experience with no equal. Not to mention, it's a blast to play. It's so easy to adapt to, and while it's convention is new, it's execution is superb. In place of fancy prerendered cut-scenes, the game sports stunning anime cut-scenes, that just completely meld the entire experience into one. The animation and charater illustrations are similar to the old Maxx cartoons, and it's so very wonderful. Anime geeks globally will love Killer 7 just for it's wacky anime cliches and japan-isms.

The voice work is something else. Top notch and among the ranks of the Metal Gear Solids and God of War games of our time. I'd go as far to say it surpasses both in many instances. The voices of Harman, Garcian and Dan Smith are probably the picks of the litter, but don't mistake the rest for fodder, they're all stellar. In line with the voice work is the soundtrack, which is again completely original and in some instances will have you second guessing the track choice for certain scenarios. I find now the most appropriate time to remind everyone that Killer 7 has one of the best disco songs in the history of good disco songs. As you ascend and descend the stairs in the oddly titilating Vinculum gate, the Killer 7 appear to be dancing wildly to this outrageously catchy disco trance mix. A "disco dance simulator" if you will.

As a final product, the puzzle solving could use some challenge tweaking, and the camera angles in some instances could be improved, but Killer 7 is the full package. The plot is so twisted and out of sight that it makes Metal Gear Solid look like fourth grade picture books. As a whole series, the MGS story is still more gripping and more masterfully crafted than Killer 7, but on a game per game basis, Killer 7 takes the cake. It's never straight out told to you, and that's what makes it so wonderful. It's a game that keeps you thinking long after the experience has ended, and that's what makes a great storyline. The graphics and audio are top notch, anime cut-scenes totally geek out the entire experience, and the disco dancing has to be seen/heard to be believed. Overall, Killer 7 earns one of my highest recommendations, and I say you're a fool if you can't see how far originality and innovation go in a sequel-copycat saturated market. Killer 7 strictly as a gameplay experience only deserves an 8, but it's the only game that has earned more than it dished out. I'd be a fool to offer anything lower than a 9.5. It has it's short comings, but this is one game that ten years down the road, people will look at and say "Yes, I do remember Killer 7, for what it did, how it did it, and how it stood above the rest despite a completely polarized fan base." Maybe not so much in those words, but the idea is that Killer 7 is a game for collectors, for people who love originality, and for people who can look back and brag for trying something new, and being part of an audience who embraced change and untested waters.





Blogger R2K said...

Great page! I like how its a blog that is serious!


July 29, 2005 10:40 AM

Blogger Adam said...

Thanks for the compliment.

July 29, 2005 10:59 AM

Blogger R2K said...

:) Any time! I will keep reading, so you keep posting!

That was a fast comment turn around time btw...

I am a computer gamer by hobby, mostly quake 3 right now (I know its old, but it has been my thing for 6 years now and I cant stop).

Im an old fps guy really, quake, hl, mdk, jdk, avara etc...

July 29, 2005 11:14 AM

Blogger Adam said...

There's nothing wrong with a little old school action. Heck, I still occasionally play me some Counter Strike. No not Source, the Half Life 1 mod. It's still is a great game even after all these years.

July 29, 2005 12:25 PM

Anonymous mr. joj said...


I had played it on my brother's GC and liked it, so I bought it for PS2. Damn man, it's all screwed up.

*will contain mild spoilers*

- Loadings are noticeably longer. Places like the boiler room for Target: Angel or the Gatekeeper's stairs take FOREVER to load on PS2. Let's not forget the cutscenes. The first one, with the guy getting grabbed by a Heaven Smile takes around 5 seconds to load, and 5-6 to return to game.

- Blood-morph takes 6-8 seconds. It has a stutter after your personality desintegrates, unlike the GC version's smooth transition.

- THEY BUTCHERED THE RELOAD ANIMATIONS, NOOO!!! This heavily detracts from the game's style. Dan Smith and most Smiths have animations frames removed for the PS2 version, he doesn't eject the shell casings from his magnum, etc. Mask de Smith's animation has removed frames, and so on.

- SLOWDOWN. 2 Heaven Smiles up close are enough to clog up the framerate with a Devil Shot or a critical.

- Aiming. While this one is personal, the PS2 version seemed to have a "touchy" sensitivity, it's easier to mess up your shots. Since you cannot adjust this one via menu, it is a little annoying.

July 30, 2005 12:57 AM

Blogger Erik said...

Well, a game for Gamecube got a 9.5 from you! It MUST be good!

(I am joking, but I still plan on getting this)

August 11, 2005 7:25 PM

Blogger Adam said...

har har, very funny. I'll take that as a compliment.

August 11, 2005 10:30 PM


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